Booking Into the Future

Booking Into the Future

I can’t help cheering over the news reports of late about independent bookstores thriving. Given the trend towards digital reading and ubiquitous cell phone usage, lately it has been easy for a traditional book lover to despair.

Book store shopperHowever, the popular image of books vanishing may be more myth than reality. Take this recent story about the American Booksellers Association’s (ABA) Winter Institute in Denver.

According to Publishing Perspectives, the ABA’s newsletter reported that U.S. book sales for all channels for November 2015 were up 7.5 percent over the previous November. For the first 11 months of last year, total sales increased 1.5 percent.

“It’s easier to be a small store now,” commented Lexi Beach, who opened a store in Queens in 2013 after working in the sales department for publishing giant Simon & Schuster. “It was easier for me to establish credits with accounts that it was for those who came before me.”

Dinosaurs Live On

While everyone may have some kind of e-reader—even yours truly can now scan electronic editions on my Kindle for the PC—that doesn’t erase old-fashioned, dinosaur-like ink-and-paper books.

I found additional evidence after reading the Publishing Perspective story. It appeared in a Ministry Today column about themes that will resonate with church members in 2016.

In it, Hollywood media producer/ strategist Phil Cooke noted that one of the interesting trends this year will be the return of the local bookstore. In Cooke’s eyes, that means people will also be looking for a local church.

“After a decade of clicking all day, people miss the interaction of a local store experience,” Cooke opines. “Plus, they finally understand that if you want to keep local stores, you have to buy there. As a result, local bookstores (and other stores) are experiencing a resurgence in cities and towns across America.”

Moving Like Molasses

kindle-381242_1920Granted, we all have to keep up with certain trends and technological developments if we hope to communicate in the modern world. Yet I often am struck by how many people are barely able to keep up; judging by the struggles I hear about, when it comes to adapting to the curve some people are even further behind than me.

Exhibit A is a news item I saw a couple years ago, when I had to upgrade my desktop to Windows 7 lest I attract the viruses that my wife did, so many that it shut down and disabled her computer.

A month before I knew I needed to make the move, I saw a news item that mentioned that 92 percent of high-tech businesses were still running XP on their computers.

I chuckled out loud at the very folks you would expect to be attuned to the latest and greatest technology on the market still operating with the same system I had.

That proved a couple of my theories: 1) there was nothing wrong with XP, 2) no matter what their industry or field of specialization, people struggle to keep pace with technology. After all, we already have a job.

Finding Time to Relax

One of our son-in-law’s is a computer programmer. His chief complaint is that he can’t keep up with all the technological developments. Which leads me to pose the question: how are we supposed to find time to adapt to every new thing coming down the pike?

It won’t do any good to grumble about books on a shelfit, so I do the best I can with the time—and resources—I can spare. I’m sure some of you feel the same way.

So, as you grapple to find your way through the modern jungle, I think one of the best ways to relax is to go visit a bookstore. We writers will appreciate it.


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